New Report: Coastal Communities Share Steps to Adapt to Climate Change

Sep 21st, 2013 | By | Category: Climate Change

Systematic incorporation of climate change concerns into formal community planning, management, and infrastructure design is in a nascent stage. Yet innovative climate change and flood management practices are being implemented in every state in the region (North Atlantic U.S.A, Virginia to Maine), and in diverse municipalities with varying demographic and geographic characteristics. The devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene indicate that communities are still highly vulnerable to coastal hazards and flooding, yet the storms have also created a potential watershed moment regarding willingness to adopt innovative adaptations.

For more on this story, visit: Connecticut Sea Grant | UConn.

GROTON CT–A new report from Sea Grant and the NOAA North Atlantic Regional Team (NART) identifies some best practices that communities can use locally for adapting to climate change.   “Cost-Efficient Climate Change Adaptation in the North Atlantic” is a compilation of best practices shared by towns and cities willing to share the steps that they have taken towards successful adaptation.   The report can be found with an interactive map at http://seagrant.uconn.edu/CEANA/

The report is the result of a year-long study that began in 2012, looking at strategies that have been implemented in 34 municipalities from Maine to Virginia.  The authors looked at studies, laws, policies, outreach tools, and infrastructure elements that have been used voluntarily, and compiled these into the report in order to share the information widely.

Actions taken often depend on both needs and budgets.  The report includes climate change measures with a range of associated costs, many of which can be incorporated into hazard response plans that already exist or are being developed.  Town and city staff, citizen volunteers, NGOs, and partnerships with state and federal agencies such as NOAA can all be part of the process.

groton-climate-reportWith so much inherent geophysical, cultural, socioeconomic and political variation, there is no one-size-fits-all magic solution for communities.  But at the same time, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel in every community.   The good news is, many cities and towns are taking action and are willing to share their strategies with others facing similar issues.

By clicking a pin on the map, users can access a summary report for that location, or search by type of practice, such as administrative, financial, legal, pilot study, planning, or other measures.

For example, In Greenwich, Connecticut improving maps using GIS projections for flood inundation scenarios is a cost-effective way to identify homes that would be most impacted under various storm inundation flood conditions. The enhanced maps proved invaluable to emergency firefighters responding to a fire outbreak in the midst of Storm Sandy, while wading in two feet of water.

The web site is hosted by Connecticut Sea Grant at the University of Connecticut.

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